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The Error Is in the Gap: Synthesizing Accounts for Societal Values in Science

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Kevin Elliott and others separate two common arguments for the legitimacy of societal values in scientific reasoning as the gap and the error arguments (respectively, the arguments from underdetermination and from inductive risk). This article poses two questions: How are these two arguments related, and what can we learn from their interrelation? I contend that we can better understand the error argument as nested within the gap because the error is a limited case of the gap with narrower features. Furthermore, this nestedness provides philosophers with conceptual tools for analyzing more robustly how values pervade science.

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Footnotes

I am grateful for advice and encouragement from Lisa Lloyd and Jutta Schickore; for thought-provoking discussions with Josua Aponte-Serrano, Evan Arnet, Jordi Cat, Kevin Elliott, Kate Grauvogel, Amit Hagar, Nora Hangel, Bennett Holman, Becca Jackson, Ryan Ketcham, Monica Morrison, and Nick Zautra; and for critical comments from two anonymous reviewers. An earlier version of this article was presented at Indiana University for the 2017 Hanson Prize Lecture, and I thank the audience for their questions and criticism. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under grant no. 1342962. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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